Expedition South Kona

Expedition South Kona

Duration: 5 Hours
Ages: min age 5

Adult Ages 12+ $168
Child Ages 5 to 11 $146

Three snorkeling locations in one sparkling Kona day journey 22 miles down south.


Explore the Black Sand Beaches of South Kona and perhaps you’ll visit a black sand beach and have it all to yourselves. Maybe a stone arch or a spectacular lava rock formation formed thousands of years ago by a young Mt. Hualalai. Pilot whales as long as your boat swimming alongside you, Hawaiian spinner dolphins playing in your wake. The diverse marine life abounds on this South Kona tour.

The Expedition South Kona includes culturally significant and visually spectacular snorkeling in locations such as Pu’uhonua O Honaunau and Kealakekua Bay, the pathway of the Gods. Enjoy lunch in the shade of the canopy within view of the monument to Captain Cook, with the cliffs of the bay soaring above you. On this Kona snorkeling tour, you explore the Southern coast of the Big Island and see things the majority of people who visit our sacred Island do not.

South Kona is home to a wide array of unique plant and animal life. Beyond the lush reefs lining the Kona’s coastline and bays, there are lava tubes and sea caves that dot the Big Island’s marine landscape. When you book a Kona snorkel trip with us, you create your invitation for a day of adventure. Our tour of South Kona is special as it combines the thrill of discovery and a boat ride, with ample time in the water; allowing you to explore both above and below the water’s surface.

On our trip out to the reefs, depending on the time of year, you could see humpback whales, spinner dolphin pods, honu, and so much more from the boat’s deck! If that sounds like a fun adventure to you– be sure to save your spot aboard.

The Marine Life You Will See on a South Kona Snorkel Tour
While we quickly touched on some of the sea creatures you may get to see from aboard the boat while we make our way to Kealakekua and Pu’uhonua O Honaunau Bay; you’re probably wondering what plants and animals inhabit the reefs that we will be visiting on this 5 hour adventure.

There are hundreds of tropical fish and marine life that live among the coral in Kona, you may get to see a large variety upon entering the water and swimming around. Some of the most populous native Hawaiian reef fish are the triggerfish, parrotfish, and the bluefin jack.

What’s great about booking your snorkeling tour of South Kona with a trusted local guide is that you have a crew aboard the boat who contain a wealth of marine knowledge. If you have any questions about the underwater environment and its inhabitants, be sure to ask your captain!

Fun for Everyone! Hawaii’s Underwater World Discovered by Snorkeling in South Kona
What’s great about the reefs that we will travel to during our South Kona snorkel trip, is that they are perfect for relative beginners and families! Unlike other areas of the Big Island, and Hawaii in general, the Bays that we will be exploring are relatively sheltered and shallow. This means that you have less of a current or natural obstructions that may make learning to use a mask, snorkel, and fins for the first time– incredibly difficult. While we do need the confirmation that everyone in your party can swim and will abide by the safety procedures and guidelines that the crew provides, there is solace in knowing that we won’t be venturing into treacherous waters.

Should impending weather and ocean conditions arise that would jeopardize the safety of our snorkel excursion, there will be immediate action and precautions put into place.

While we can’t guarantee exactly what you’ll see, what the weather or ocean will be like, or if any marine animals choose to swim up to us, we will help you in making memories that last a lifetime aboard our boat.

Lunch Options
Turkey sandwich
Whole Wheat Bread, Deli Turkey slices, Tomato, Lettuce, Swiss Cheese

Tuna sandwich
Whole Wheat Bread, Tuna Salad, Mayonnaise, Tomato, Lettuce

Roast Beef sandwich
Whole Wheat Bread, Deli Roast Beef slices, Tomato, Lettuce, Swiss Cheese

Ham sandwich
Whole Wheat Bread, Deli Ham slices, Tomato, Lettuce, Swiss Cheese

Veggie sandwich
Whole Wheat Bread, Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumbers, Sprouts, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Balsamic Drizzle

Garden salad
Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumbers, Carrots, Olives

* All lunches include mustard & mayonnaise packets on the side, Hawaiian Style single serving chips, and Island Style fresh fruit platter.

Departure Times
Check-In 8:15 AM
Depart 8:30 AM
Return 1:30 PM

Parking Address

78-7106 Kamehameha III Rd.
Kailua Kona, HI

Expectant mothers are not eligible to participate in this activity
Individuals who experience regular back or neck pain are not eligible to participate in this activity

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Statement

As the World Health Organization ended the global emergency status of Covid-19 on May, 5th, 2023 our regular 48 hour cancelation policy applies. As long as you contact us outside of 48 hours to your tour it is fully refundable or changeable withiout penalty. Within 48 hours to your tour it is non-refundable/non-changeable.


How many people will be on my tour?

Sea Quest Hawaii has always specialized in small groups on each of our tours. Now, to ensure physical distancing is possible, we have limited our tour group size to either half capacity or less for the protection of both our guests and staff. For example, our 33 passenger vessel has been limited to 14. Our 18 passenger vessel has been limited to 8, and so on. We recognize that without a sense of safety surrounding your excursion you will not be able to immerse yourself in the experience and that is what we aim to do- to create a safe and thoroughly enjoyable excursion in which you feel completely at ease to enjoy your surroundings, your guides, and all that the Kona Coast has to offer.


Is there a minimum number of participants on each tour?

During this unprecedented time of restricted travel, we are seeing lower numbers of travelers and excursion participants. As a rule, we require a minimum of 4 guests in order to confirm a tour. We will stay in touch with you regarding the status of your excursion should it not be confirmed. There are a few options available to you at that point and our team will happily assist you. Should you tour not confirm, you are entitled to a full refund.


What are the chances that the trip will be canceled due to poor weather or sea conditions?

This is very rare as the Kona Coast is blessed with the best weather, least rain, and calmest seas in the state. The occasional gloomy sky can quickly turn sunny as well. For this reason, should the need arise, Sea Quest reserves the right to determine whether or not the trip will be canceled at the scheduled time of departure. If the trip is canceled, you may reschedule for a later date (subject to availability) or receive a refund.



Where is the third snorkel spot on the Expedition South Kona tour?

In addition to Kealakekua Bay and Honaunau, we have selected several secluded snorkeling locations for the third spot on our Expedition South Kona tour. These snorkel sights are less protected than Kealakekua and Honaunau; therefore, your captain selects the third snorkel sight on the day of the tour based on the prevailing conditions. Regardless of the location the captain selects that day, you’ll know you will be in areas typically not snorkeled by any other tour companies and that you wouldn’t have visited any other way.


What happens if it is cloudy or rainy on the day of our tour?

Along with ample sunshine, the islands are also blessed with abundant daily rainfall, which nourishes the lushness and creates the erosive force that continues to shape all the fascinating geology. Most of the island’s waterfalls are sustained only by rainfall, and misty showers often delight passengers with rainbows along the tour. Usually, our typical high cumulus clouds and precipitation do not diminish the quality of your tour, but instead give it dimension and add other exciting facets to your experience. However, if the pilot determines that prevailing visibility, cloud cover, or wind speeds do not allow for a good air tour, or if it is not safe to fly, we will of course cancel the flight. Because weather conditions can change dramatically day to day and hour by hour, we often cannot make a determination about your flight prior to your check‐in time.


What about bathrooms?

There are no bathrooms on board for our trips; however, we like to say we have the world’s largest restroom available. With that in mind, we suggest you plan ahead and use the facilities near our check-in location before you depart. Once onboard, your first opportunity to get into the water will be approximately 30-40 minutes into the trip.



What is your cancellation policy?

All changes to and/or cancellations of a reservation must be made 48 hours before the tour start time.

Contact us by phone to cancel or inquire about a cancellation. No-shows and cancelations within 48 hours to the tour will be charged the full price. Guests wanting to reschedule within 48 hours will incur a rebook fee of 75% of the regular tour price.

Customers will receive a full refund in the case of operator cancellation due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.



Can I bring my own snorkel gear?

If you have equipment that you are comfortable with, feel free to bring it if you like! The snorkel gear we keep onboard is excellent- silicone masks, dry snorkels with purge valves, etc. For your protection, we sanitize the equipment after each use. There is no discount for providing your own equipment.


What if I have never snorkeled before?

If you have never snorkeled before we will you show me how


I'm not a strong swimmer and my wife doesn't swim at all. Is this something we can do?

Definitely! All you do to snorkel is float on the surface and look down at the beauty below. You might be surprised at how buoyant you are in salt water. It’s quite different than a lake or a pool. We also have plenty of flotation devices such as snorkel vests and foam pool noodles for extra floatation to put you at ease so that you can enjoy the view. Standing on the ladder is a great place to start. Once you feel comfortable, you can paddle off. However, this does not apply to either the Night Manta Experience or the Dolphin Encounter. Both of these tours require that you be a strong swimmer with snorkeling experience. Feel free to call us to elaborate.



I'm a vegetarian. What do your snacks include?

The snacks we serve on our tours vary by trip, but none include meat. The EXPEDITION SOUTH KONA tours serve a deli lunch which includes a sandwich that does include meat. With advance notice, we can easily order a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free lunch. We also offer juices and water for your refreshment. For your safety, Sea Quest is a non-alcoholic adventure.



What about shade?

The MANTA RAIV and LILIKOI both offer shade and are typically used on our EXPEDITION SOUTH KONA snorkel tours, but on occasion may also be used on our other snorkel tours. Our other rafts do not have a canopy which increases the number of caves we can explore along the coast. We suggest our guests bring along and apply beforehand a waterproof and environmentally friendly sunscreen, or wearing a rash guard or paddle shirt. We have both available for purchase. For some guests, a hat might be a good idea too. Just make sure it won’t blow off and end up in the ocean. If you take the proper precautions, you can easily avoid overexposure. Kona weather typically is cloudy in the afternoon, so those who are very concerned will often choose our three-hour CAPTAIN COOK EXPRESS.


Can I bring a regular camera?

Yes. This is not white water rafting. Some people even bring video cameras! That said, Sea Quest rents GoPro cameras at our check-in location. You may reserve one ahead of time when you make your reservation on our website!


Cincinnati, OH
wrote a review
May 8, 2021

Amazing Views and Snorkeling

Expedition South Kona was wonderful! After checking in we were brought to our boat, which is the smallest boat I’ve ever been on the ocean in. That made me a little nervous at first (and if you’re a little water nervous, don’t sit in the front, I learned that the hard way), but now there is no other way I would have wanted to explore south Kona. Brendan, our guide, was able to get right up to the rocks and caves to give us an amazing view. He also was so knowledgeable about the history of the island and we learned some great facts along the way.

We had three different stops for snorkeling. They were all unique and great, but the second stop was my favorite because it was an area other tours do not go and only those on our tour were there (which was small, only 3 couples). There were plenty of snacks and drinks throughout the trip and while we didn’t get to visit a black sand beach, we did see one. The sandwiches were good too and while we ate on the boat, a large pod of spinner dolphins swam all around us. It was really magical. We saw some other tour companies out in the Capt Cooke area and they were huge tours and “party boats” and it made me so thankful to have booked this. If we find our way back onto the Big Island again, it is the only water tour company I’ll book with.



Andy Miami, FL

wrote a review May 1, 2021

Unforgettable experience
Our time snorkeling was incredible. From beautiful scenery while driving to each of the three locations, to the gorgeous coral and vibrant sea life...the entire trip was breathtaking. Brendan, our host, was not only informative but also friendly and most of all made us feel safe. I highly recommend this tour/excursion. It's truly worth every penny. Hopefully you're also able to see some cool spinner dolphins, too. Mahalo!